Taking a shot at being creative

Carrolltowne Media Festival captures young photographers' picture-perfect moments


On a snowy morning last month, 9-year-old Courtney Cole waited in her yard with her mother's camera.

Finally, two small birds landed among the snow-covered branches and she snapped the photograph that won her a blue ribbon in Carrolltowne Elementary's annual Media Festival.

"I shot in color so you can see the birds better," said Courtney, who will be vying for countywide honors with her entry.

An exhibit at the Eldersburg school gave the young photographers a chance to tell the stories accompanying pictures of siblings, pets, waterfalls and wildlife.

Some said they posed their subjects, while others took candid shots. Some planned photos for weeks, one winner shot hers on deadline.

A long wait in the rain paid off for 8-year-old David Wallace, who captured a picture of Tai Shan, the National Zoo's baby panda, sitting on a log.

Ryan Tucker, 11, used the family computer to enhance a picture of his pet dachshund, titled A Bad Craving.

"I gave him hair, glasses and eyes on the computer," Ryan said. "He had already bared his own teeth."

For his Underwater Expedition photo, Trevor Larner, 8, donned goggles and dove into a pool with an underwater camera to shoot his similarly goggled younger brother.

"I like experimenting," Trevor said.

The first-place photos in each category will compete in a countywide contest and be on display next month at the school system's offices in Westminster.

"Of course, they are all winners," said Jeanne Mayo, the school's media specialist who organized the contest. "This gives them a chance to try the unfamiliar, be creative and take risks."

Daniel Gauthier, 5, the youngest contestant, climbed out on a rock to get a picture of churning white water in Patapsco Valley State Park.

"The water was running really fast, and I got really close," said Daniel, adding his father was at his side the whole time.

Ben Robinson, 8, took his mother's advice on lighting for his photo that captured the setting sun streaming through trees along a stream bank.

He called it Golden Halo. He followed his own muse and lined his colorful collection of teddy bears along an earth-tone rug for his whimsical "Rainbow" shot.

Siblings Isabella and Nicholas Feehley, both 6, found photo inspiration on a recent trip to California. After much deliberation, Nicholas opted for a breathtaking mountain view from his grandfather's deck. Isabella didn't consider entering the contest until the family returned home, the night before submission deadline. She posed her Beauty and the Beast dolls in a dance.

On a stroll through a park with her grandfather, Carly Paratore, 8, spotted a frog hiding in a flower bed and quickly grabbed his camera. "I just took it because I wanted to," Carly said.

She has since talked her grandfather into buying her a digital camera.

"She told her grandfather she needed a digital camera so that she would be able to see her mistakes right away," said Carly's mother, Jeana Paratore.

Digital cameras are preferred by the majority of the young photographers.

"You know what you are getting right away," Joy Zimmer, 11, said.

Joy submitted a picture of a frisky pup hanging on a gate and another of a hawk flying through clouds.

"The pictures were hard because the bird kept moving, and the dog almost jumped over the fence," she said.

The Freys' boxer figured in two entries, one from Joshua, 8, and the other from 6-year-old Megan, who captured the pooch asleep on a sofa. Joshua took a color photo of Lexi the pup and reconfigured it on a computer into a black-and-white, which, he said, "catches the eye better.

"Lexi usually wiggles a lot," he said. "But that day she looked right at me and stayed still."


Carrolltowne winners

Third through fifth grade:


Life study, color 1st -- Courtney Cole 2nd -- Joy Zimmer 3rd -- Trevor Larner Landscape, color 1st -- Ben Robinson 2nd -- Grace McCarthy 3rd -- Daniel Raines Still life, color 1st -- Ben Robinson 2nd -- Ashleigh Kirker Experimental, color 1st -- Madeline Killian 2nd -- Ryan Tucker Experimental, monochrome 1st -- Joshua Frey

Graphic Design

Graphic Design - commercial 1st -- Ashleigh Kirker

Pre-k through second grade:


Life study, color 1st -- Carly Paratore 2nd -- Megan Frey 3rd -- David Wallace Landscape, color 1st -- Daniel Gauthier 2nd -- Carly Paratore 3rd -- Nicholas Feehley Still life, color 1st -- Isabella Feehley

* First-place winners will have their work submitted for the countywide competition.

[Source: Carrolltowne Elementary]

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